Rebuttal Post: Life's a Carnival

(Jennifer, given the name "Carla" in Life's a Carnival, has submitted her own version of events on that date.  Jennifer says: "I read the story a dozen times, but there's no doubt that Ben wrote it about me.  Also, it's almost pure fiction on his part.")

Rebuttal Story Submitted by Jennifer:

Ben and I walked through the fair's midway, as he said, but he was the one who offered, "Want a prize?"

I asked him, "If you're offering to win me something, I won't refuse, and thanks."  I gestured to a stuffed monkey above the red star shooting gallery.

As he said, he didn't win, and he did say, "It's hard."

My actual response was, "We can try another game around here."

He slammed down another three dollars and tried again.  The second time, he also failed, but it wasn't a big deal.  At least, not to me.  I didn't really have to have a stuffed monkey that day.

After his second try, I asked him if I could give it a shot.  I never said, "Pay the man."  I took out my wallet, but Ben headed me off at the pass and gave the guy three of his own dollars.  I thanked him, then took my aim at the little card.

I failed at it that time, but when I turned back to Ben, he was gone.  I decided to go all for broke on one last try, and I gave the vendor three of my own dollars for my second pass.

I'm not sure why Ben wrote "She put down another three, same result."  He wasn't even there for my second try, which I took slowly and won.  I put the gun down, accepted the monkey (and the card with the shot-out star) from the vendor, and went off to find Ben.

I walked up and down the area, searching for him.  I tried his phone, but he must have had the ringer off.  Finally, I found him not too far away, watching a group of girls play a game of skeeball.  Another stuffed monkey was tucked under his arm.  I said, "Why'd you take off?  I was looking for you."

Barely looking at me, he replied, "While you were busy wasting my money, I went ahead and got you this."  He handed me the monkey.

I showed him my card with the shot-out star, held up my monkey, and said, "Thanks, but I won this one, myself.  And you were the one who gave the guy your money.  I was ready to pay for my turn."

He said, "I paid for our first three times."

I replied, "I didn't force you to do that.  You asked me if I wanted a prize."

He said, as if he was talking to a six-year-old, "Wow!  Now you have two monkeys!"

I said, "I don't think I deserve this attitude."

"What attitude?"

We were right next to the food court, and we were both hungry.  It was a hot day, and I figured that we'd be less cranky after eating something.  I said, "Never mind.  Let's get something to eat."

He didn't say anything at all to me as we ordered food, sat down, and ate.  As Ben wrote in his post, a family sat near us, but what actually transpired was a bit different from the crap he spun for you.

The little boy (whose name might have been Tim, or Joey, or Billy... there's no way to know, because we never found out what it was) saw the monkeys that Ben and I had put on the table, and he pointed at them, reached for them, and cried for them.

I leaned in and asked Ben, "Do you think we should give him one of the monkeys?"

I asked because sometimes parents can be sensitive about strangers giving gifts to children, be it a child safety issue or the idea of a child being given presents without doing something to earn them.  I've worked with parents before and they can be touchy about it, so that's why I asked Ben for his thoughts.

Ben's response?  Loud enough for the family to hear, he said, "You were the one who wanted a monkey so fucking badly.  Your choice."

A second later, I handed my monkey to the little kid.  The parents thanked me.  I turned back to Ben, who gave me such a sneering, judgmental look, that I felt compelled to lean in and say, "You're being an asshole."

As he said, we definitely had different life priorities.  Mine is being a good person, while his seemed to be, "How long can I act like a five-year-old and get away with it"?  Good riddance.

(See Ben's original post here.)


  1. Some pretty big discrepancies between the two. Anyone fancy a crack at what you think actually happened?

    End of the day, I"m glad that a date involving weapons, monkeys, and screaming children ended as well as it did.

  2. I'm inclined to believe this version of things.

    Though it makes me wonder how many of the stories here are actually true as written.

  3. Yeah, there was a nag in the back of my mind reading the first version. He interpreted her trying the shooting game as petulance, when it could have easily been her just really loving a challenge -- i.e. it had nothing to do with the monkey. I wondered why he was so quick to jump to the other conclusion.

  4. nah jennifer, sorry, but this post sounds way too self serving. sorry.

  5. It was all the carnie's fault, see. The glint in his eyes as he saw us, his marks, coming near. Ben had been reminiscing about his time teaching basic math to orphans in Rwanda while Jennifer fawned, but then they saw the monkey.

    Maybe it was the heat of the day, but Jennifer felt faint. "That monkey..." she gasped, swaying dangerously in a sudden spell of dizziness. Ben caught her before she hit the ground, and then let out a sudden keening wail. "I WILL GET YOU THAT MONKEY!" he cried, hurriedly rushing her to the stand and picking up the gun. The carnie gave a lopsided grin, the gold tooth glinting in the sunlight.

  6. Ben and Jennifer opened their wallets, pouring bills and change onto the grimy counter. They both picked up guns, firing wildly into the dim gallery. They could hear a ping as one bullet hit the mark, but the win was not to be theirs.

    They had exhausted all their money, but the monkey still hung above the carnie, whose grim leer taunted the couple. Ben and Jennifer felt drained and confused. What had come over them? Why had they spent so much money on such a worthless prize? Jennifer reached into her pocket and found only lint. They started to walk dejectedly away. The carnie gave a short, grumbling laugh.

  7. It was Ben who saw the child, wandering aimlessly through the food court. There were no adults nearby, nobody looking caringly after the lost child. It was Ben who cajoled the child into following as they walked quickly back towards the Midway. Jennifer later told the police that they had not seen the child, that they were just having a nice day at the fair. Ben told the police that he hoped the child was found soon. The child's parents were sobbing into their funnel cakes as Jennifer talked to the police, holding a small stuffed monkey toy to her chest.

  8. I'm far more likely be believe Jennifer's version. It sounds like Ben was way too competitive and got cranky when Jennifer beat a game that he couldn't.

  9. Though it's possible the real truth is somewhere between the two, I find the first version way more believable. This one has too many unlikely or nonsensical elements.

    1). Winning the red-star shooting game on the second try? Nearly impossible.

    2). In this version, Ben gets nasty and wanders off for literally no reason. Not wholly unheard of in bad-date-land, of course, but the original version at least gives everyone a motive. Also, why would she keep trying to win the monkey in this version if as she claims she didn't care much about it?

    3). If Jennifer was wondering whether the parents would be annoyed if she gave their kid the monkey, why would she ask Ben about it instead of the parents themselves? That makes no sense.

    There's just too much here that doesn't add up.

  10. This one seems too self serving to me, a little embellishment I think.

  11. Got to agree with Andrew on this too. those games are rigged and unless she was a frequent hunter or similar it's just too far fetched, plus who would wonder off that quickly especially on a date even a bad one.

  12. I like Amanda's version best. A bad case of the taxidermists.

  13. Creepy taxidermy FTW.

    Glad to see another rebuttal post!

  14. I'm going with Amanda's version, it makes the most sense.

  15. I'd like to present evidence in favor of Amanda: I once one a very similar game (shoot the crossbow through the star without touching any of the black) on my second try. I did it to impress a girl. And I had to carry around a huge purple gorilla the rest of the day.

  16. Team Amanda - a lot of the posts where the person (men and women) just suddenly flips out always makes me wonder if the person writing the story has actually screwed up but either is so socially incompetant that they don't get it, or has omitted it to make themselves look better. This one sounds much more realistic than the other.

  17. I do enjoy a good rebuttal, but I agree with the comments that this one seems a little too self serving. In her version she was the perfect image of manners and morals, where in his it is just the exact opposite.

    The truth is out there, but I don't think it is in either of these posts.

  18. In every story, there are three version: his side, her side... and Amanda's.

    Team Amanda.

  19. People are always more likely to believe the second story they hear rather than the original. Frankly, not only does this version sound a little off, but one of them is clearly an outright lie to the point where it makes me bummed out, because I try hard to pretend that all of these dates happened.

  20. Unfortunately, I think that most of them did.

  21. "If you're offering to win me something, I won't refuse, and thanks." Come on, who talks like that in real life?

  22. If you figure that Ben's post made her sound like a psycho and her post made her sound like Mother Teresa they average out and she's a normal person. He sounds like a dick in both versions, so that averages out to...a dick. Team Amanda, but not disturbing comment Amanda.

  23. I'm for Team Amanda. Specifically, Team Disturbing Comment Amanda. Comments like those are what keep me coming back here! 8-D

  24. Whoever the hell Amanda is, I believe her story(ies?) way more than OP's or the original.

    Of course, the OP and the original author probably embellished both stories quite a bit, along with almost every other person who has submitted a story here. Of course you aren't going to make yourself look bad to your adoring public.

  25. Team Amanda. \o/

  26. I want the Carnie to put his story on.

  27. I believe neither, both stories sound equally full of crap. Gun to my head, I'd go with the first one, this narrator in this story is WAY too sweetness and light.

  28. I do not believe this post for one second. Team Original.

  29. They're both spin-doctoring. But I'm more inclined toward Ben's version - if for no other reason than SEVERELY DISBELIEVING the "win the shoot-out-the-red game on the second try" bit. That, and it's frankly easier to picture her saying "pay the man!" (it does not have to be a dick move, people. it can be playful. IT'S ONLY THREE DOLLARS.) than saying that weird stilted "if you win me something I'll not refuse, my good man, hrm hrm hrm" crap that she was throwing out here.

    BTW, people - "Amanda" is NOT the girl in question, Amanda is the one who posted the hilarious steal-the-child vignette!


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